The father of Stephen Lawrence has said black people are still treated as second-class citizens in Britain, throwing his support behind Black Lives Matter protests in the UK.

Twenty-seven years after his son was killed in a racist attack by a gang of white youths in south-east London, Dr Neville Lawrence called anti-racist demonstrations in the UK necessary after promises to reform UK policing have not been kept.

In an interview with the Guardian, 78-year-old Dr Lawrence said he was “pleased” by the mass peaceful anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the US.

He said they were necessary because people of colour were still being treated as second-class citizens “not only in this country but all over the world.”

After the original police investigation into Stephen's death was hampered by prejudice, incompetence and alleged corruption, the subsequent Macpherson Report into the 18-year-old's case concluded the police were guilty of "institutional racism".

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Neville Lawrence stated that he believed that UK police are still institutionally racist.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick last year declared this was no longer true, saying "this is an utterly different Metropolitan Police."

But Dr Lawrence said he believes promises of police reform following the Macpherson Report have not been kept.

"We should not be talking about it 21 years later," he said. "They have fallen way, way short. Twenty-one years short."

Dr Lawrence added he "totally" disagreed with Dame Cressida's comments, citing 2019 figures showing the Met stopped and searched more black people than white, despite black people comprising just 12% of London's population and white people 59%.

Protests under the Black Lives Matter have recently spread across the UK, leading to skirmishes outside Westminster and now statues of slave traders being pulled down in Bristol and later London.

Lawrence said that statues such as Edward Colston, dumped into Bristol harbour at the weekend, were “offensive,” though he did warn against violence and risking health due to coronavirus.

The mother of Lee Rigby, the fusilier murdered in Woolwich by terrorists, has also spoke out over the protests, asking people to stop using her son's image to "fuel arguments against Black Lives Matter."

Following his son’s murder, Lawrence, his wife, Doreen, now Lady Lawrence, spent years fighting the police, who denied wrongdoing, and won a public inquiry.

In 1999, the Macpherson in 1999 found errors were down to incompetence and “institutional racism”, leading to promises to reform UK policing.

Lawrence added: “It was not done in quick time, it’s not been done, I don’t know when it will be done – we should not be talking about it 21 years later. They have fallen way, way short. Twenty-one years short.”

He said that whilst police had made some improvements, they had failed to get the community behind them, making a “them-and-us situation” and damaging their ability to solve crimes.

“There is no one policing the recommendations now,” he said. “The police cannot be relied on to reform. They are a group of people who do not believe they should be told what to do.”